By V.S. Godbole


Prof.P.N.Oak of New Delhi, put forward a theory in 1965 that the Taj Mahal was not a mausoleum built by Shahjahan but a Rajput Palace. In 1968 he found a confession to that effect in Shahjahan's official chronicle Badshahnama and in 1974 he came across Au rangzeb's letter of 1652 [the year when Taj Mahal is supposed to have been just completed] complaining that Taj Mahal was leaking all over. In 1978 I read his extended book The Taj Mahal is a Temple Palace. Over the next two years I went through all th e references and was convinced of his assertion. My paper Taj Mahal- Simple Analysis of a Great Deception was appreciated by some prominent European scholars in 1980.

Dr V V Bedekar of Thane [India] started a historical quarterly named itihas patrika in March 1982. He published my paper on Taj Mahal in the first issue of the quarterly. He also published my extended paper as a booklet in March 1986.

In 1981 my research went deeper. I asked myself, " Were the British scholars just a third neutral party who were misled by the prolonged misuse of Hindu buildings as Mosques and Tombs and were not cunning enough to see through chauvinistic Muslim claims ?

Or did they know the truth about Taj Mahal and other monuments all along but had, for political reasons, vowed to hide the truth ? "

By the end of 1981 I prepared an eighty page dossier on the subject. When I placed the information in a chronological order I was surprised at my findings. There was a British conspiracy of suppression of truth about Taj Mahal and other monuments over the last 200 years. The main personalities involved either knew each other and/or referred to works of each other. As the time passed by new information came to light which confirmed my findings. Some important, contemporary events were added to give the rea ders a better picture of the times. These may be ignored if reader is not familiar with them.

The Chronology was serialised in the itihas patrika during September 1983 and September 1985. It is now being made available as a thesis, with some modifications and additions to the original series.

My Architect friends M/s Paithankar and Pradhan suggested improvements to presentation and checked my typing meticulously. My wife Mrs Vinita and my daughters Vaidehi and Varsha supported me throughout. Dr Bedekar has made this publication possible. I am grateful to them all.

14 Turnberry Walk
Bedford, MK 41 8 AZ
10 January 1994



Period And Main Event



1784 to 1853 :  Rise of the British Power in India

1 to 27


1854 to 1875 : Aftermath of the Indian War of Independence

28 to 51


1876 to 1885 : Rise of Lokamanya Tilak

52 to 73


1886 to 1906 : High noon of the British Raj

74 to 100


1907 to 1921 : Age of Revolutionaries and Civil Disobedience

101 to 127


1922 to 1948 : India wins freedom

128 to 158


1949 to 1984 : Post Indian Independence

159 to 202


1784 to 1984 : Two hundred years in retrospect

203 to 265


The Great British Conspiracy

266 to 298



".....At the end of this fountain-adorned avenue, you ascend a hidden staircase of twenty solid blocks of marble....the interior of Taj, which is an octagon, surmounted by a dome seventy feet in diameter." [The diameter is in fact 58 ft.]


........Strangers, when visiting the Taj, are so much occupied in viewing the centre apartment, which contains the tombs, that they often omit visiting the eight rooms that surround that central apartment; four of which a re square and four of octagonal form; [But what is their purpose ?] on the upper floor are eight rooms of a similar description. [Once again, what is the purpose of the upper floor ?] The ground plan annexed I copied from an original plan, shown to me at the tomb." [There is a name in Persian of the person who prepared the plan. It shows the cenotaph and chambers around it, abov e the marble terrace, but no staircase to the upper floor.]

" It covers an area of two hundred feet square, upon a terrace of white marble, about twenty ft above the one of stone, and three hundred ft square. At each angle is a minaret upon an octagonal base, eighty ft in circumference; the bottom of the shaft is twenty ft diameter, so that I should think the minarets are at least one hundred and fifty feet high.....The whole extent of the lower terrace is, I should say, full nine hundred feet; the pavement is inlaid with black and white marble."

" The Taj was twelve years in building; two lakhs per annum were allowed to keep it in order and support the establishment of priests and servants. It is situated on the western bank of the Jumna, three miles from the town of Agra; it is nineteen yards sq uare; and the dome about seventy feet in diameter.........It is impossible to estimate the cost; the most valuable materials were furnished by subadars of provinces." [Fanny Parks now makes up her own story.]

" Tavernier, who saw this building commenced and finished, asserts that it occupied twenty thousand men for twenty-two years. The mausoleum itself, and all the buildings that pertain to it, cost 3,17,48026 rupees; or =A33,174,802. .....Colonel Sleeman, in h is " Rambles of an Indian Official " remarks, - " This magnificent building, and the palaces at Agra and Delhi, were, I believe, designed by Austin de Bordeux, a Frenchman of great talent and merit..."

- Alexander Cunningham carries out Archaeological excavations in Sanchi.

1852 : Second Anglo-Burmese War.

1853 : 8th edition of Encyclopaedia Britannica mentions Taj Mahal in volume II p 244, under AGRA. It tells us, "....The name of this distinguished personage was Arjammed Banoo, which according to oriental usage, was changed on her elevation [elevation to what ?] to that of Mumtazee Zumanee signifying the paragon of the age."

Nagpur State was annexed by Dalhousie.

Bombay-Thana railway was opened.

Sir Henry.M.Elliot dies. His Historical works were published 14 years later. See events of 1867.

Bayard Taylor, an American gentleman visits Taj Mahal.

Summary of Events and Explanatory Notes

  1. Politics
  2. The East India Company was trying to get control of whole of India. The period from 1784 to 1853 is full of their various wars, with the Marathas, the Burmese, the Gorkhas and the Sikhs. The insatiable, rapacious lust for plunder and loot of the English, made Chengiz Khan and Nadir Shah look like cowboys. They even wanted to demolish the Taj Mahal! Their crooked methods, audacity to break unilaterally their own promises, assurances and treaties, racist, arrogant and contemptuous behaviour, was soon to res ult in the eruption of the Great Revolt of 1857.

  3. Archaeology
  4. Major General Cunningham was aware of the enormous political importance of Archaeological Survey of India, way back in 1842. Was it just a coincidence that he was made in charge of that department when it was started in 1860 ? Even a Pakistani Muslim Abu Imam recognised in 1966 that Cunningham wanted to use Archaeology for promoting Christianity in India.

  5. Indian History
  6. As the East India Company conquered various territories their officers wrote history of those territories. It was the victors writing about the vanquished. Here are some examples :

    1818 Maratha Peshwa Bajirao II was defeated by the East India Company.

    1824 A Memoir of Central India by Major General Malcolm was published.

    1826 History of the Marathas by Capt Grant Duff was published.

    1829-32 Anals and Antiquities of Rajasthan by Lt Col James Todd was published.

    1843 Sind was annexed by Lord Dalhousie.

    1851 History of Sind was written by Lt R F Burton of Bombay Army.

    1849 Punjab was annexed by Lord Dalhousie. History of Sikhs was written by Joseph Cunningham, brother of Major General Alexander Cunningham.

  7. British attitude
  8. Macaulay made it quite clear that English system of education was a means of spreading Christianity in India.

  9. Evidence ignored/set aside
  10. 5.1 Tavernier said, " He [Shahjahan] caused it to be set up on purpose near the Tasimacan, to which all Strangers must come, [so] that they should admire it, the Tasimacan is a great Bazar, or Market-place."

    Why should a King erect a mausoleum near a busy / noisy place like a Bazar or Market ?

    5.2 Name of the lady of the Taj

    Tavernier the contemporary traveller of 1666 and Daniells ( 1795 ) do not give the name of the lady at all.

    Bishop Heber ( 1828 ) and Major Archer ( 1833 ) say that the lady was Noor - Jehan, when in fact she was Shahjahan's step-mother.

    Major Thorn says the lady was Arjumand Banoo, whose name was changed first to Moorutaz Zumanee and later to Nourjehan.

    Capt Mundy says the lady was Arjumand Banu.

    Fanny Parks says her name was Arjumand Banoo, it was later changed to Mumtazee Zemani.

    Sleeman calls her Mumtaz.

    5.3 Col.Hodgson, told us in 1843 that: The Persian manuscript in the possession of the custodians of Taj Mahal was the fabrication of an impostor. But the same manuscript has been used as an evidence by many authors!

    Even in 1825 the so called Jawab was used for accommodation of visitors.

    It seems that he was also aware of the true nature of Taj Mahal. That is why he says, " when viewing this monument it must be remembered that it is not a temple but a tomb."

    He also refers to " Mausoleum at Taj Ganj " as mentioned in Shah Jahan Nama of Muhmmad Salah Kumbo. The term clearly implied that Taj Ganj existed before the death of the lady. It was not built as a township for workers.

    His vital remarks have been ignored with the connivance of the historians.

    5.4 Taje Mahal

    It is curious to note that all the visitors who had been in India for a short time use the term Taje Mahal. Thomas and William Daniells ( 1795 ), Major Thorn ( 1813 ), Bishop Heber ( 1828 ), Major Archer ( 1833 ), Captain Von Orlich ( 1845 ) This is quite contrary to their attitude to the pronunciation of Indian words, even today. Taje Mahal could easily have been the corruption of Tejo-Mahalaya as Prof Oak suggests.

    5.5 Fanny Parks had noted 8 rooms around the cenotaph, and an upper floor with similar 8 rooms. Hodgson also noted an upper floor.

    5.6 Both Fanny Parks and Hodgson have noted Baoli Burj. It has no relevance in a mausoleum.

    5.7 Tavernier has stated that main dome is constructed of brickwork. ( marble is used for lining only ). Hodgson had noted this fact.

    5.8 Fanny Parks said, " It is customary with Musalmans to erect the cenotaph in an apartment over the sarcophagus, as may be seen in all the tombs of their celebrated men." Captain Mundy ( 1832 ) has noted Mohammedans burying bodies on ground floor and erecting cenotaphs on first floor.

    Why should this tradition arise in India only ?

    5.9 Fanny Parks said that various rooms inside the Taj were used by visitors to stay. Why were they built ? There are plenty of rooms outside the Taj in the courtyard.

    5.10 Army for protection of Taj

    Tavernier said - There is a Eunuch who commands two thousand men, that is entrusted to guard not only the sepulchre of the Begum, but also the Tasimacan.

    Major Thorn said - For the protection of the place and to keep it in order, a company of artillery and a battalion of infantry were constantly kept on the spot.

    But why was this protection necessary for the tomb of beloved wife of this popular emperor who ruled like a father and whose reign was said to be golden and peaceful ?

  11. New evidence emerges
  12. There were palaces between Agra Red Fort and Taj Mahal. Ruins of these palaces were noted by Major Archer (1833) and Capt Von Orlich ( 1845 )

  13. Blunders of Travellers
  14. Tavernier said that Jahangir's tomb was in Agra, on the way from Delhy when in fact he is buried in Lahore. Tavernier gives extensive family history of the Mughals.

  15. Travellers' Accounts
  16. The travellers' accounts are nothing but mere repetition of what they read in Tavernier's book. But only Col. Sleeman and Fanny Parks refer to him.

    As these visitors came from the high society, their accounts were taken as true by others.

  17. How the legend grew
  18. 9.1 20,000 men worked for 22 years

    It seems quite clear that the travellers had read Tavernier's book before visiting Taj Mahal, but only Sleeman and Fanny Parks were honest enough to say so. Others just repeat the story told by Tavernier as if it were an established fact. Some modify the story to suit their thinking :

    Major Thorn says, " This celebrated work...took 11 years in building and as many more were occupied in adding to its ornaments. " i.e. it took 11 + 11 = 22 years as Tavernier says. Capt Von Orlich repeats what Major Thorn said.

    9.2 Tavernier tells us of the legend of the second Taj or Shahjahan's intended tomb on the other side of the river.

    Major Thorn said in 1813 - Shahjahan's intended tomb was to have been joined to Taj Mahal by a magnificent bridge of marble. Others have followed the leader. Bishop Heber ( 1828 ), Captain Godfry Mundy ( 1832 ), Col Sleeman ( 1836 ), just say that the two tombs were to have been joined by a bridge. Captain Von Orlich ( 1845 ) and Fanny Parks ( 1850 ) say the two tombs were to have been joined by a marble bridge. Bishop Heber said that there were some remains of a bridge. Capt Von Orlich said that Shahjahan's own tomb was called Mathob Baug.

    9.3 Deathbed request of the lady

    Col Sleeman said in 1844 - Before she ( Mumtaz ) died she made two requests...second that he should build for her the tomb...to perpetuate her name. Both her dying requests were granted.

    9.4 The figures of cost like the legend , are purely imaginary.

    Major Thorn says Rs 96 lakhs or =A3 1,000,000 Captain Mundy says 750,000 livres or =A3 56,250 Col. Sleeman says Rs 3,17,48,026 or =A3 3,174,802 Fanny Parks is not sure. Once she quotes a figure of =A3 750,000 but towards the end of the chapter on Taj Mahal she repeats Sleeman's figure of 33,174,802.

    9.5 Tavernier mentions no architect. Again all the names are purely fictitious.

    Col.Sleeman says, " I believe it was designed by the Frenchman Austin de Bordeaux."

    Captain Von Orlich says, " There is much reason to suppose that an Italian was placed at the head of the undertaking "

    Fanny Parks repeats what Col. Sleeman says.

    They all ducked the basic question : What buildings did this mysterious Architect design and supervise before being invited to build the Taj Mahal ?

    9.6 False accusations : Looting by the Jats

    Major Thorn said in 1813 - " The doors at the grand entrance was originally of Jasper, but this valuable relic has been taken away by the barbarous Jats, who also plundered the place of as many precious stones as they could easily pick out."

    Capt Mundy said in 1832 - " In many places the more valuable pebbles have been fraudently extracted, an act of sacrilegious brigandage imputed to the Jats who.... ...carried off the brazen gates of the citadel of immense value."

    Fanny Parks said in 1850 - " [In the cenotaph chamber] there was also a chandelier of agate and another of silver, these were carried off by the Jat Suraj Mal."

    It is interesting to note, however, that Tavernier the contemporary traveller, does not mention any silver doors or golden railings etc. He notes the large cotton market in Tascimacan and throughout his book he talks about nothing but money, money, money.

  19. A Mystery
  20. Fanny Parks says, " Formerly a screen of silver and gold surrounded it; but when Alumgeer erected the tomb of Shahjahan by the side of that of the Sultana, he removed the screen of gold and silver, and replaced it by an octagonal marble screen."

    Badshahnama was not published till 1867! Only in 1896 Latif tells these details. How did Fanny Parks learn about the screen in 1850 ?

[continued in Part II]

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